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Mayor unveils statue, plaza honoring Tuskegee Airman at city’s Rouge Park

Mayor Mike Duggan, along with family and former students of Lt. Col. Alexander Jefferson today unveiled a statue and plaza dedicated to the memory of the Tuskegee Airman who helped win World War II and returned home to rise above discrimination to become a celebrated educator.

The event at the plaza on Jefferson Field at the corner of Spinoza Drive and Joy Road in Rouge Park, where Lt. Col. Jefferson flew model airplanes later in his life.  The Plaza is open to the public.  

Jefferson’s flying unit, called Red Tails for the colors on their plane tails, escorted bombers into action in Europe – and lost so few planes that bombers requested them for flying runs.  Jefferson was shot down and kept as a POW before being released and returning to Detroit, where he had a stellar career as a teacher and vice principal. He also helped found a Tuskegee Airman chapter of former pilots in Detroit.

“Lt. Col. Jefferson was a hero in every sense of the word and so richly deserves this honor,” said Mayor Mike Duggan. “He distinguished himself as a Tuskegee Airman and prisoner of war in World War II, and again at home as a celebrated educator. The people of Detroit are deeply grateful to him for his service and this plaza and statue is a reflection of our collective appreciation.”